The Emmy Award-winning television version first aired on 1 April, 1986, and was rerun on 2
June, 1987. It starred Roxana Zal, Millie Perkins, Jim Haynie and Melanie Gaffin, with Beau
Dremann, Amy Resnick, David Greenlee, and featured Jere Burns as Brother Vinnie. Executive
producer, Cynthia A. Cherbak. Produced and directed by Leslie Hill. Music by James De Pasquale.
Director of photography, Robert Eberlein. Edited by Pamela Scott Arnold. Written for
television by Cynthia A. Cherbak.
When Alfie hears about the upcoming trial between the evolutionists and the creationists and
their fight to decide which theory of the earth's origin will be taught in the public schools,
her first thought is that it will make an interesting topic for a school project. She doesn't
expect it to be a replay of the growing tensions at home between her cynical father and her
born-again mother as the family faces the approaching death of Alfie's little sister. And
Alfie certainly isn't expecting to find romance at the trial. But when she meets handsome
Kurt, there to cheer on the evolutionists, he not only captures Alfie's heart, he forces her
to take a rational look at her own religious convictions. Before she knows it, Alfie finds
herself torn between two opposing camps. Deep down, she suspects that faith alone does not
equal truth, but she still can't help feeling that if she believes hard enough, she can save
In the worst week of her life, the week her little sister dies, Alfie struggles to find
something to believe in. In this moving and witty novel, Norma Howe sensitively explores
the plight of a young girl caught between irreconcilable extremes and forced to choose her
Long intrigued by religious issues, Norma Howe knew that she wanted to write about the conflict
between faith and reason in a young person. After she attended the "creation trial" in
Sacramento, California in March 1981, the idea for this story took shape. In her own words:
"I think it was Robert G. Ingersoll who said it takes real courage to choose truth over comfort.
I'm interested in people who have that kind of courage--and in those who don't-- and I wanted
to write about them."
CONTEMPLATING LIFE. . . AND LOVE
It all came crashing down at once. In just one week, Alfie lived through the most terrible
time of her entire sixteen--almost seventeen--years. And somehow, while her whole world was
falling apart, Alfie managed to fall in love.
She might easily have fallen for someone who would soothe away all the hurt with gentle words
and soft caresses. Instead, Alfie fell totally and passionately in love--over a hot fudge
sundae and some pretty heavy conversation. Not exactly the moonlight and roses every girl
dreams of, but then Alfie wasn't the average girl. At sixteen--almost seventeen--Alfie had
experienced some pretty adult problems. And when she fell in love, it wasn't just kid's
stuff. But it did turn out to be a kind of revelation about life and love--and how you can
survive them both.
Excerpts from Reviews
English Journal - December, 1985
Chosen as "One of the Most Outstanding Books of the Year" by the University of Iowa Books for
Young Adults Program.
Booklist - April 15, 1984
A promising first novel sure to have YA appeal, especially to those going through their own
Best Sellers - June, 1984
Norma Howe handles (the) hopes and fears and the regular ins and outs of adolescent life
skillfully and with a sense of humor. Alfie, her parents, and friends come to life and have
a certain depth of character not commonly found in juvenile literature.
Horn Book - June, 1984
Despite the serious theme, there is much humor in the dialogue and in Alfie's relations with
her friends. Alfie herself is a thoughtful, intelligent heroine with a contemporary problem.
The Sacramento Union - June 10, 1984
Parents with religious convictions may object to the book because of its bias toward the
scientific viewpoint. It is a thought-provoking book, however.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, July/August, 1984
...an impressive first novel that has strong characterization, a smooth writing style, and
a universal theme: the individual's concept of faith and commitment. Her father is a cheerful
cynic, her mother a devout born-again Christian, and Alfie chooses her own path with courage
and a growing conviction.
The Sacramento Bee - July 31, 1984
This is an excellent book for teens and not bad for mom and dad, too. It's not a heavy-handed
message book; it's a look at real people confronting life.
The San Francisco Chronicle - August 5, 1984
...the author gives her characters depth and feeling, avoids easy judgments and delves
honestly with a theme of relevance to many young people.
Children's Book Review Service, Inc. - August, 1984
...a witty, honest, well-written story about faith and reason.
School Library Journal - August, 1984
...a thought-provoking novel that should appeal to YA's.
Voice of Youth Advocate - October, 1984
The controversial nature of this book make it excellent for booktalks and discussions. A
good addition to any collection...